Celebrity of the Year Finalist #8: Selena Gomez

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We're closing in on 2012.

But before the champagne can be uncorked, we need to take a look back at 2011. In our 5th annual Celebrity of the Year countdown, we revisit the stars that made us laugh, made us cry, made us cringe and made us nearly vomit up our last meal (hello, Kardashians!) over the past 12 months.

The rankings began with a look at Lindsay Lohan at #10; moved on to the comeback of Jennifer Lopez at #9; and now focus on the young girl fortunate enough to be on Justin Bieber's arm, Selena Gomez...

Selena Gomez Motivational Poster

Selena was named Breakout Artist at the January People's Choice Awards and spent the next 12 months proving those voters correct. Her popularity soared and her records sold, despite being at the center of numerous death threats from crazy fans of her boyfriend.

Ah, yes. The boyfriend. His name is Justin Bieber and the couple went public in February, showing up together at the Vanity Fair Oscar party and stealing the sexy show. The two have been relatively drama free since then, avoiding the sort of tabloid fodder that has marked the reign of their competition for cutest young Hollywood couple, Robsten.

Meanwhile, Gomez has watched her professional life reach the same heights as her personal one. She anchored the movie Monte Carlo; she embarked on a successful summer tour; she released hit singles that included "Who Says," Bang Bang Bang" and "Love You Like a Love Song." She even added host to her resume, taking center stage at the MuchMusic Video Awards in June and later at the MTV European Music Awards in October.

The pinnacle of Selena's year may have taken place in July, when she actually topped Lady Gaga, Shakira and Bieber himself on the Billboard Social 50, a ranking of those most popular/referenced across a variety of social networks.

Selena has also graced the covers of numerous magazines throughout 2011, while entertaining millions of fans across the land. Watch a number of her performances now in our Selena Gomez video section and remember, haters: keep leaving those threats. Just see if they phase her.

But don't expect Gomez to react with anything but a laugh, a new smash single and a kiss on the cheek from the beloved young man always by her side.

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